It’s official – the light’s gone out in Cleveland and we’re in for a solid 5 months of agonizingly cold gray-and-white landscapes. but should that mean us runners will be forced to Occupy The Couch, or worse, The Treadmill?! I think not. Here are 5 things to keep you out and about in that beautiful Winter Wonderland while your competitors indulge themselves in a bit of seasonal pudge. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Running
Linda recently came across this article from the writer of Born To Run, widely considered to be the book on barefoot and natural running. As it turns out the article is pretty good. It gives a fair bit of history regarding the movement and could serve as a nice, brief introduction to any n00bs out the looking to find themselves some barefoot adventures for the first time. Once you’ve read the article, maybe you’ll even be inspired to read the whole book, which has been more or less continually shove down my throat by this girl (although I have to admit that I still haven’t read it…shhhh!).
Also, for those of you persistent enough to make it to the end of the article, you are probably wondering just what the heck the “100 up” drill is all about — as well you should! Since I’m too busy/lazy to make a video this week, here’s a video of the author making a rather silly demonstration of the drill. Yes, I know it’s not embedded and that’s a pain, but us moochers who don’t host our own website are rather technologically impaired at the moment. More to come on that later…
This weekend was just chock full of excitement down at the Cleveland Running Company. For those of you keeping track, this was officially our third attempt at making it down to Shaker Heights (about 35 minutes away) in time for the 9 am start of the store’s Run Club, but our first success. Of course, no weekend run would be truly complete without Linda being injured in some way (two weeks ago, she was run down by a drunk biker, this week, she turned her ankle 30 feet from our doorstep), so this cat went out solo for a nice little 6-miler with Erica, the leader of the group. Upon returning to the store, we were again greeted with a veritable smörgåsbord of bagels, drinks, horribly un-nutritious peanut butter cookie squares, and apples (courtesy of our recent trip to Patterson Fruit Farms). After indulging, yours truly was treated to a free massage, courtesy of a local massage therapist who visits our little club every other week. Once again, this is why brick-and-mortar stores are WICKED AWESOME! Continue reading
I’ll be the first to admit that there are many days in any given training season where I will make any and every excuse to myself to avoid going outside to workout. Once I’m outside, I’m happy as a littleneck (if you’re not from New England, feel free to substitute “clam” instead), but just making the decision to get my butt out the door can be a trial. Having said that, I’ve found nothing more motivating than knowing other people are relying on you for their own workout (NOTE: this particular benefit is NOT incurred if you choose to ally yourself with a group of similarly unmotivated athletes).
In addition, workout groups can provide you with on-the-fly motivation during your workouts. I’m sure anyone else with group training experience can attest to the fact that a well-timed “Move your a**!!” can completely turn around a rapidly deteriorating interval.
Training groups, just like the people that comprise them, come in all flavors and varieties. Some are more laid back, while others are highly competitive. Depending on your personal style of training, one type of group may be better suited than another, but I am of the personal opinion that a little friendly competition (even if only in your own mind) can be very motivating from time to time.
Let’s face it – no matter how gorgeous the scenery is (Northern Californian mountain trails notwithstanding), no one looks forward to a 75-mile ride with nothing but irate drivers and an internal monologue of this song for company. Having others around, especially people who share your interests (at least as far as athletics go) can be lifesaving, or at the very least an anchor for your sanity.
Having been involved in multisport for the last 2 or 3 years, I’ve noticed something that is almost universally true – if you are a runner or biker by trade who later made the transition (pardon the intentional pun) to triathlon, you are guaranteed to suck at swimming. This can range anywhere from swimming simply being the slowest leg of the race to being terrified of even pouring a glass of water for fear of drowning, but it is nevertheless a truism. One thing I think that contributes to this is the fact that very few people without a background in competitive swimming ever get the chance to work with a proper instructor, and being that technique holds much more sway over swimming performance than it does for running or biking, this leaves many of us at a huge disadvantage.
One of the beautiful things about joining a training group is that there is bound to be someone with more experience than you in one or more disciplines who will, in all likelihood, be more than willing to divulge their hard-earned trade secrets. This is doubly true of more “official”-type groups, like the Cleveland Triathlon Club or any of the many local chapters of US Master’s Swimming, who may even have actual fully-qualified coaches available at some or all group training sessions. I STRONGLY suggest joining one of thes groups for swimming, but consider doing so for biking and/or running too, because a decent coach can often make the difference between a good race and a podium finish.
Fully-qualified coaches aside, other athletes can also serve as an absolute treasure trove of information. Whether you’re in the market for a new bike, thinking about trying barefoot running for the first time, or just looking for a new race in the area, you are guaranteed to find the answers if you just ask the right people. Having a group of fellow athletes whose advice you trust and who you can talk with in person can be extremely helpful in this regard.
In much the same way that Linda and I have been lamenting the demise of the brick-and-mortar bookstore due to the recent nationwide closing of Borders, I’ve noticed a distinct downswing in the influence of the physical running shoe store in the wake of internet shoe stores like Zappos and even Amazon.
Enter the Cleveland Running Company. As I was cruising the internets looking for a place to try out some minimalist shoes (before buying them cheap online), I stumbled across this article in the local news, which mentioned a new running shoe store opening in nearby Shaker Heights. Turns out, they’ve just gotten around to starting a running club that meets on Saturday mornings, so we thought we’d go make some new friends while delving a little deeper into this whole barefoot experience.
Now that my feet have
mostly healed (Adventures #1 was actually written about a week ago), I decided to give it another go. Linda and I took a nice little jaunt around the block to take in the beautiful sights of downtown Cleveland, and I took the boys out of their rubber cages for a spell.
Again, it felt pretty good to run sans technology. Not that I’m against all forms of advancement, since I’m well aware we were never meant to run on asphalt, and if needs must…Still, that extra spring in my step and the I-could-run-ANYWHERE feeling (for inflection, see Exhibit A…or alternatively, Exhibit B) is hard to resist.
7:00 pm: It’s been almost 1 month to the day since the Cleveland Downtown Olympic-distance tri. Aside from Linda’s first 5k, I’ve done absolutely nothing since then. Methinks it’s time for a nice short run to kick off the post-season training.
7:03 pm: Pretty slow pace, so I’m trying to spice it up. I’ve been thinking a lot about barefoot running lately, mostly wondering if it’s really as good as some say it is, or if (as I suspect) it’s just another passing fad to make more money for shoe companies. I’m gonna try running more on my toes and see how it feels.
7:05 pm: We’re about 3/4 of a mile out. Toe running kind of sucks. It just feels like I’m sprinting really really slowly, which makes my shoes scuff the sidewalk and honestly slows me down, but we just hit a stretch of really smooth paving, so let’s take of the shoes and see if it feels any different.